Setting up shop

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Blog entry by ever4ward posted 08-07-2013 07:45 AM 968 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We recently moved from Austin, Texas to Newbury New Hampshire. My wife, youngest daughter and I are taking a mid life sabbatical from the same old grind, downsizing, simplifying, home schooling and trying to figure out what we are going to do when (if) we all grow up.

I have always wanted to work with wood but being hyper focused on chasing the almighty dollar since I was 12 years old (with some success) I could never get to the point of building skills with the tools I would buy on a whim now and then. Table saw, router, drill press, radial arm saw, power miter saw along with dozens of hand tools always had a new coat of fresh rust when I would uncover them and start a project that rarely got finished. I have modest rough carpentry skills and have devoured a dozen or more books by Schwartz, Tolpin and the like.

As we were packing up in Austin, I made the decision to sell all of my stationary power tools. If I ever set up another shop it would be hand tools only. When we bought our home in NH, my wife claimed the large workbench in the basement for her stained/fused glass space. Over the past year, I have carved out a 6’x6’ space from the remaining basement and am planning a HUGE land grab that will increase my shop to an astounding 12’ x 6’! In that space I am going to learn the skills of sharpening, joinery and finishing and produce one or two larger projects and a dozen or so small projects each year.

Using only hand tools, I have already cleaned and sharpened my Sandvick cross cut hand saw and it works! I’ve learned but not yet mastered plane and chisel sharpening on oil stones. I’ve built shooting boards for 90 and 45 cuts. I built a torsion box to serve as an assembly table on the 2 saw benches that will be my next project. Every day I make a joint out of 1×2 cut offs to practice sawing to a line. Dovetails and plain and keyed miter joints so far. Today I hand cut a keyed miter joint that went together straight from the saw with no shooting or chisel required! No glue yet and this joint is tight and square! So, I will be looking through the projects of lumberjocks admiring and taking inspiration. I may even post a project or two when I have something worthy!

-- can you make anything from those shavings?

5 comments so far

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3553 days

#1 posted 08-07-2013 10:48 AM

Welcome to LJ’s my Friend, and Welcome to New Hampshire as well!
Hope you enjoy both! :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View MrFid's profile


876 posts in 1955 days

#2 posted 08-07-2013 12:08 PM

Welcome to the site, and to the NE. Keyed miter looks great! We look forward to seeing what you make. This site is a great resource.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3118 days

#3 posted 08-07-2013 12:49 PM

Congratulations on following your dream. The dollar is needed but should not be ones dream. I wish I had followed my dreams as a young man. But it is never to late to follow ones dreams so I am in the process of following mine. Good luck and blessings to you and your family.

Welcome to LJ’s and thanks for posting.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View helluvawreck's profile


31666 posts in 2917 days

#4 posted 08-07-2013 01:40 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks. You have plotted an interesting course and I wish you and your wife much success in the coming years. May you always be happy in your work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View waho6o9's profile


8237 posts in 2628 days

#5 posted 08-08-2013 02:51 AM

Very nice keyed miter joint E4Ward.

Welcome to LumberJocks!

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